Rights groups condemn death of political prisoner


HUMAN rights groups Selda (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) and Hustisya expressed outrage over the death of political prisoner Benny Barid, who died on Thursday at the New Bilibid Prisons Hospital. “We hold the Aquino govern-ment accountable for the death of Benny Barid. His death is the face of martial law in our country today. He suffered and died because of the cruelty and injustice of this government that speaks of “democracy” but denies the right of political prisoners to be free,” Cristina Guevarra, Hustisya secretary general, said. Barid was arrested in 2006 after being accused of involvement in a massacre that happened in 2004. His child was allegedly held hostage by the military to force him to surrender.  He was a political detainee of the Marcos dictatorship, but was granted amnesty under the Cory Aquino government. He was again arrested sometime in 2004 for subversion and illegal possession of firearms.  The case was dismissed, but his lawyer was killed after hand-ling his case. In 2005, the military detained him for almost two months, when they searched his house and allegedly found firearms in his possession.


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